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  Rocha KO’s Tough Ashie In Seventh

By William Trillo
Photos: Marlene Marquez


Welterweight Alexis Rocha (22-1, 14 KO’s) found out that when a fighter travels halfway around the world to put on the gloves, he is going to give it his all when he steps into the squared circle. That’s exactly what the fighter from Ghana, George Ashie (33-6-1, 25 KO’s) did in front of a packed house of mostly Rocha fans. Coming in as a last-minute sub, no one really knew what to expect from the fighter from Africa. By the end of the night everyone, including Rocha, found out Ashie came here to die on his sword if he had to, and he darn near did. The Golden Boy promotred battle for Rocha’s WBO NABO Welterweight belt gave the fans in the YouTube Theater a night they won’t soon forget.

At the start of the fight Ashie looked somewhat clumsy and out of his element. Rocha was moving and landing effectively early on. It looked like this was going to be a pushover, but that would soon change.

In the early rounds it became clear that Ashie’s awkward counter punching skill was his weapon of choice and that was posing a problem for Rocha. Another tool in Ashie’s arsenal was a huge set of cajones, and that would serve him in good stead. A vicious right hook dropped Ashie in round three. Most fighters would have stayed down for the ten count. But not Ashie. How he arose to fight on is anyone’s guess, especially Rocha’s. There is a simple answer…the huge set mentioned above.

From that point on this one went to the trenches; these boys were exchanging bombs at an unbelievable clip now and the fans were loving it.

In round six Rocha delivered a very blatant low blow, (again the cajones), that had the ref halt the action to give Ashie a long moment to collect himself. When the round resumed a sudden clash of heads busted open Rocha’s eye. The blood was flowing and the pro Rocha crowd was going berserk.

Round seven was about to give fans the thrill they were waiting for. When Rocha uncorked a picture perfect right hook, Ashie’s head spun like a top and he crashed to the deck with a thud. No need to count here, this one was over at the 2:08 mark as ref Tom Taylor waved this one off.

For Rocha this may have been an unexpected test as no one really knew about Ashie. But in the end, he prevailed, scoring maybe a B- on the report card. Rocha is now looking for the elite fighters at 147 pounds. Whether or not he is ready remains to be seen.

On his KO victory Rocha exclaimed, “I wanted to make a statement, Crawford is next. But if that can’t happen, I want all the big names. I’m signed to the best promotional company in the world, and I know they’ll make it happen. He [Ashie] was a tough fighter, but I knew he wasn’t going to hang with me.”

Minimumweight Oscar Collazo (6-0, 4 KO’s) used every ounce of his diminutive frame to score a very brutal fifth round KO over Yudel Reyes (15-2, 5 KO’s). Over the course of the first four rounds, it was a give and take affair with Collazo looking to be hunting for a spot to open fire. Then in round five a stunning right-hand combo put Reyes flat on his back.

It appeared the fight could have been stopped at that point but a resilient Reyes somehow managed to gather himself to get up and fight on. Discretion was not the better part of valor here and Collazo made Reyes pay for that error in judgment.

Suddenly wicked head shots were bouncing off the dome of Reyes in rapid fashion. Truthfully, the ref should have stopped this one then and there, but he did not. Moments later Reyes was clubbed into a prone and unconscious state at the 2:59 mark of the fifth round.

After the fight Collazo said, “I feel super good. We did exactly what we wanted to do. If we went to the body, we then went back up and that’s how we made it happen. The knockout punch was the hook. We had been practicing since camp so I’m glad we made it happen. I want the champions next. Specifically, The WBA champion, Melvin Jerusalem. So, Melvin if you’re listening, I want you.”

Super Middleweight Bektemir Melikuziev (11-1, 9 KO) hopped, skipped and jumped his way to a KO victory over Ulises Sierra (17-3-2, 10 KO’s) in this featured attraction. Having stunned his opponent with wicked body shots time and time again, Bektemir hurt his foe but not enough to stop the show.

Sierra went into survival mode which made it difficult for Bektemir to put an early cap on the night. But in the third round Sierra took a couple shots to the solar plexus that pushed the air permanently out of the fallen foe. Credit Bektemir with a KO stoppage at the end of round three. For his efforts he grabbed the vacant WBA Continental Americas Super Middleweight strap.

Looking to avenge is only loss Bektemir announced, “I’m happy that I just won and as I said before Gabe Rosado is the guy I’m looking for and if not him, anyone. I’m ready. Just give me any 168 fight. Thank you to all of my supporters, we’re moving little by little. We’re getting closer to the title shot, we got another title today and we’re looking forward to the world championship.”

Lightweight Floyd Schofield (13-0, 10 KO’s) has all the natural talent a fighter could ask for but Alberto Mercado (17-5-1, 4 KO’s) showed him that he has a long way to go to be the elite fighter he is touted to become. For Schofield it’s going to take a bit more buffing and polishing in the gym.

While pitching a unanimous decision shoutout Schofield showed some flashes of brilliance along with some impatient one punch KO attempts. The kid is good and appears to be on his way to a fine career. With the likes of trainer Ronnie Shields in his corner along with some good matchmaking, Schofield has a chance to become a fighter to watch. With the victory Schofield won the vacant WBA International Lightweight.

“My feet burn, but it was a good victory,” said Floyd Schofield. “To the fans, thank you for all the love and support, and next time I’ll definitely get that knockout. We want to fight Keyshawn Davis next.”

Super Lightweights Alejandro Reyes (9-0, 5 KO’s) and Jose Zaragoza (9-6-1, 3 KO’s) slugged it out over six grueling rounds in this pedal to the metal slugfest. With a house full of ardent supporters on his side “Pin Pon” Reyes used the fan generated electricity to motivate him as he captured a hard earned unanimous decision nod. Zaragoza gave Reyes a very stiff challenge that should go on to pay dividends as the Reyes career moves forward. Judges scores were tight as two saw the fight 58-56 and the other gave Reyes a 60-54 tally.

Super Bantamweight Adan Palma (5-0, 4 KO’s) dropped Pedro Salome (3-2-2, 1 KO) with a crisp right hand in round two and went on to win an impressive unanimous decision. This was a competitive scrap and very fan friendly. Salome showed he was not there for simply a paycheck, but Palma’s skills were too much for him to overcome. Final scores read 40-35 x 3.

Super Featherweight Daniel Garcia (4-0, 3 KO’s) took on an overly seasoned Jonathan Perez (40-34, 32 KO’s) in the opening bout of the night. With only three fights under his belt Garcia looked composed and sharp as he took on the 70 fight journeyman. After four very entertaining rounds Garcia was given the unanimous decision with scores of 40-36 across the board.


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